Second Life

Why would people want 'second lives'?

The second lives 'lived' by the likes of Janine Hawkins as Iris Ophelia helps her 'be the beauty with flowing hair and flawless skin, keep a list of things she wants to buy: the latest outfits from the virtual fashion mecca Last Call, a new hairstyle from a Japanese designer, slouchy boots and when she receives her monthly salary in Linden dollars, the currency of Second Life, she spends up to four hours shopping, clicking and buying. After a year and a half, she now owns 31,540 items.'

This opportunity for 'fantasy' is wholeheartedly embraced. They turn even more consumerist with a weakness for the designer goods. When people are given the opportunity to create a fantasy world, they can and do defy the laws of gravity (you can fly in Second Life), but not of economics or human nature. Players in this digital, global game don’t have to work, but many do. They don’t need to change clothes, fix their hair, or buy and furnish a home, but many do. They don’t need to have drinks in their hands at the virtual bar, but they buy cocktails anyway, just to look right, to feel comfortable.

Second Life residents find ways to make money so they can spend it to do things, look impressive, and get more stuff, even if it’s made only of pixels. In a place where people should never have to clean out their closets, some end up devoting hours to organizing their things, purging, even holding yard sales.
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